Lead District Attorney prosecutor Hans Moore requested a new court date today in the case against SFPD Officer Terrance Stangel, angering the judge who presided over Stangel’s acquittal.
“Don’t you think it’s time to move forward?” asked a visibly irritated San Francisco Superior Court Judge Teresa M. Caffese before a nearly empty courtroom, the day after the highly anticipated jury verdict was announced. Stangel was not present.
Yesterday afternoon, Stangel was acquitted of three counts of assault and battery for beating domestic violence suspect Dacari Spiers with a baton in 2019. The jury was hung on the final charge, for assault under the color of authority. The trial, believed to be the first in which an on-duty police officer faced a jury for excessive force, lasted more than four weeks.
Moore told the court that the District Attorney’s office is “still evaluating how to move forward” — whether to dismiss the final charge against Stangel, or to retry him.
“It would be appropriate for the People to seriously consider whether it’s to anyone’s benefit,” Caffese said, adding that the money to hold another court session could be better spent elsewhere. “But if that’s what the state, the government wants, then that’s what we’ll do.”
Stangel’s defense attorney, Nicole Pifari, asked the judge to reject the DA’s request for a future court date, claiming a waste of public funds and accusing prosecutors of not accepting the jury’s decision.
Three out of 12 jurors voted to convict Stangel on the fourth charge, that he misused his authority. Since the jury could not come to a consensus on that charge, the judge declared a mistrial on it yesterday.
Moore’s fellow prosecutor, Rebecca Young, said Monday that some jurors felt there was reasonable doubt about whether Stangel abused his authority as a police officer, since SFPD body camera footage shows him putting away his baton after getting ahold of Spiers’ legs.
Although the DA’s office has the option to retry Stangel, Caffese pushed for the DA to do “the responsible thing” and dismiss the last charge. “We know it’s going to ultimately be dismissed,” she said.
But Moore told Mission Local that the DA’s office is “not in a position right now to make that determination; there are still matters to be evaluated. And that’s what we intend to do.”
The court secretary offered to set a court date in 60 days, but Caffese, apparently wanting to speed up the process, interjected and asked to set the date for tomorrow, March 9.
As she left the courtroom, Pifari told her colleagues that the judge was “pissed, as she should be.”
Prosecutors are not required to decide their next move by tomorrow, and could choose to further delay the decision whether to retry Stangel or dismiss the last charge against him.